So you set a goal, but it didn't work
READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
You finally decided it's time to start ______.
(You fill in the blank!)
You're finally going to start reading your Bible. Or working out. Or eating healthy. Or volunteering at the homeless ministry. Or saying "no" more often. Or not drinking. Or going to a church. Or whatever it may be!
DAY 1 went well. You read your Bible. Or you worked out. Or you signed up to volunteer. Or you said "no" to that extra commitment. Or you went to a church.
DAY 2...it went...okay...ish. You read your Bible, but not as enthusiastically as you did on Day 1. You worked out, but not with the same fervor as yesterday. You went to church, but now there's a beach party coming up next Sunday that you're invited to, and it's not your fault because it's not even your party, and you wouldn't have set the date, but it's not up to you, so who could blame you?
DAY 3...um...well..yeah, you didn't do the thing you were sooo overzealous about only 48 hours prior. But maybe tomorrow will be better?
DAY 4...yeah no...it's over. Your enthusiasm. Your motivation. Your drive to keep going. Done.
I think we've all been there, done that, and have the t-shirt to show for it. And it's not only defeating to our psyche, but it's demotivating to ever think we can change that part of our lives ever again. We tried, we failed, we stayed the same.
This past weekend, I attended the IF:gathering at Pinellas Community Church, and it was SO RICH with godly truth. The theme verse for the weekend was this:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
The theme of the weekend was PERSEVERANCE, specifically persevering past the initial excitement of doing something new. If you're wondering why I'm using a word that ISN'T in the preceding verse, it's because the context of the verse is about "fanning into flame" the gift of God. So, taking what you've been given and doing more with it.
This idea was so widely applicable, that I think we can all learn something by keeping this word in mind as we continue to pursue our goals, day in and day out, when it's not so grammable and nobody is celebrating you. Before the victory comes, before anyone knows how hard you've been working on your goals...PERSEVERANCE.
So let's talk about 3 smart ways to persevere past the initial high of setting a new goal.
1. Expect to "Fail"
If your ambition is in the right place, you're probably going to "fail" at first. Think about it.
If your goal is to merely stay the same, or just barely change just this once, but then go back to staying the same...well, you might be able to garner just enough energy to do that.
But if your goal is to CHANGE YOUR LIFE whether it be making a daily habit to read the Bible, or work out regularly, or stop cussing...you're probably going to fail a whole bunch before you can claim success.
I think it's important to distinguish the idea of temporary setbacks versus true failure. To do this, you need to define the term "fail" as it relates to your goal. I shared on my Instagram Live today that I "failed" to eat according to my new 90-Day Nutrition Plan at a mere 3 days into it. That wasn't really failure to me. That was a learning experience. Failure would mean quitting because I wasn't perfect -- I didn't perfectly adhere to the plan.
The way I see it, I learned that strict adherence isn't going to work for me. I need to have a bit of flexibility in eating outside of my self-prepared foods, especially since I eat in social occasions so often. I'd like to consider this new understanding I have of how to follow my Nutrition Plan a win, because I'm smarter about it now. I've learned what doesn't work (strict adherence), and I've learned to give myself grace to improve 90% of my diet and let the other 10% go.
What would you say to me? Would you advise me to quit my 90-Day Nutrition Plan because I ate fried chicken on Day 3? Or would you tell me that 1 meal out of 450 meals (90 days at 5 meals/day) is nothing to sweat over? If you said "Keep going, Prisk!", then would you cheer yourself on the same way? Tell yourself "Keep going!" and "Move along!" past temporary setbacks.
2. Try Again...and Again
Making a change in your life will be a lot easier if, after you're fallen off the horse, you do as Aaliyah and:
"Dust yourself off and try it again ((try it again))."
3. Have a Plan
If there is one reason why I have continued to eat an ungodly amount of fried chicken over the last 7 months, it is this:
I had no plan to do otherwise.
I had intentions. I had convictions. I had gumption. But no plan. Is this true of you as well?
When it came to my diet, I had intentions to eat healthier. I had convictions that fried chicken miiiight not be good for me and I have a goal of being able to do cartwheels with my great grandchildren one day. I have gumption to buy healthy food...most of the time. But without a plan, when I was craving fried chicken, I caved.
Getting on a solid plan makes it a lot easier to stick to doing what you say you're going to do. I find this idiom to ring true in my life in multiple areas:
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
While I'm on the topic of planning, and I'm in the mood for defining words, can we make the distinction between a goal and a plan? A goal is WHAT you're aiming to achieve. A plan is HOW you're going to get there. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said:
"A goal without a plan is just a wish."
It's great to set goals -- truly -- but don't kid yourself into thinking goals achieve themselves. Make a goal, then set a plan. Planning is critical to your success.
Expect temporary setbacks.
Try again...and again.
Have a plan.
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If you liked this post, you'll want to read this one: WHY I DON'T MAKE RESOLUTIONS
Cover photo by Moments by Bella.